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The Snowden Operation: Inside the West's Greatest Intelligence Disaster

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  378 ratings  ·  37 reviews
In his sensational new book, Economist senior editor Edward Lucas lays bare the naïveté, hypocrisy and sinister background surrounding Edward Snowden, the fugitive American intelligence contractor now living in Moscow. "The Snowden Operation", demolishes Snowden's claim to be a whistleblower. Drawing on 30 years' experience observing the world of intelligence, Lucas depict ...more
Kindle Edition, 76 pages
Published January 23rd 2014
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Apr 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
The author is a journalist with The Economist who has covered the Soviet Union/Russia for many years. Contrary to other reviewers of this book, I didn't find Lucas to be a conspiracy theorist or given to undue speculation. Lucas's book has two main arguments: (1) Snowden's revelations have done more than good, and (2) Snowden may be an unwitting pawn of the Russian intelligence services. Lucas supports the first argument with plenty of evidence; and Lucas admits that the second argument is a hyp ...more
Oct 19, 2014 marked it as to-read
Russian operative?
...Civil liberties advocate?

...first're being watched

Snowden has been under several charges: “theft” (of documents) and “espionage”.... In his defense he’s been arguing that “intelligence agencies can go too far”.

Those programs he disclosed about (Prism, Tempora….) are unconstitutional and “dangerous” ; that’s the reason why he became a whistleblower.

He left the apparently cozy job in Hawaii for the intell
Apr 07, 2014 rated it did not like it
This book has been nothing more than a Cold War crackpot conspiracy theory. Lucas made a lot of bold claims with little to no evidence. There was also a fair amount of his ego showing through, which was also annoying. I read this as an alternative view to the "heroic whistleblower" image. If he was trying to convince anyone that Snowden had other motives, such as working for Russia, then he did a terrible job.
Russ Mathers
Nov 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very well laid out essay on Snowden as a "useful idiot" who meant to damage the US. He was no whistle blower. Russia may or may not have been involved (they definitely profited from Snowden), but Snowden's actions damaged the relationships between America and our allies, corroded our country's trust in our intelligence services, and paralyzed US/British intelligence agencies.

A good, short (85 pages) story on what Snowden did. The author didn't get into a lot of details on the specifics Snowden e
Bill Thomas
Oct 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A must read for those following Snowden

Finally, a discussion that considers a darker and more adult perspective on one E. Snowden. Important reading for all of us.
May 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Questioning the worst intelligence leak in US history

Edward Lucas’s book is about Edward Snowden, the infamous American leaker of over a million documents that he took from the NSA while he was a private contractor working with that agency. The first part of this book seemed more like an extended editorial, perhaps not unexpected given Lucas is a journalist working with The Economist magazine. Only half way through did the book pick up speed as Lucas began to question Snowden’s motives in this l
May 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: spies, russia
Lucas's tone undermines his message, and as a journalist, he should know that. The use of disparaging terms such as "Snowdenista," repetition of main ideas, assertions of what he "would do" in another person's shoes, and being heavy-handed on his criticism rather than stating the facts objectively as a person with experience and knowledge, does the reader, the thesis of the essay, and Lucas himself a disservice.

Lucas could have been more convincing with his argument. He spends a couple of parag
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
I didn't know all that much about the Snowden incident. I found this thought provoking and interesting. A very fast read, well written and a good value for an ebook. It was also very easy to follow, even though I knew very little about the whole ordeal before reading this. I will definitely be following the story more closely as it develops.
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Very informative and insightful look into Snowden's actions; the likely reasons and possible impact
Juan Carlos
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Excellent, took out all the disinformation and going for the real facts.
There is not hero when you the snowden in the global context.
Simon Howard
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Well-argued alternative take on Snowden

Edward Lucas, of The Economist and elsewhere, presents a short case against Edward Snowden's leak of classified intelligence material. He also makes a case for the leaks being heavily influenced by Russian intelligence services. As someone who has previously been fairly sympathetic to Snowden's claimed motives, I found this alternative take interesting - Lucas makes some great points about the disproportionate harm caused by Snowden's actions, especially in
David Highton
Aug 29, 2019 rated it liked it
I did not find this the easiest read, but could see well-argued support for a proposition of seeing Snowden as either a misguided whistleblower, or a spy working with Russian intelligence, but not as much of the media portrayed as a heroic figure
Feb 01, 2020 rated it did not like it
While the author brought up some interesting points to consider, most of it was conjecture. It was more a long opinion piece than one based on actual facts or documents that would provide even circumstantial evidence.
Nicholas Maulucci
Oct 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: political, conspiracy
interesting book decrying the snowdenistas. written from the government's point of view. spying is simply a part of life. allies on allies, allies on enemies, allies on us, us on us. I don't deny this nor do I consider it absolutely evil. that is, except for the us on us. I am for the government bugging illegal aliens, foreigners, especially Arabs. I am for all espionage carried out on any and all countries by the US. however, when the US stores meta data of its own citizens to be used at some h ...more
Jul 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
A disappointment. I was expecting some background and the history of events that lead up to the leaks and the how it all played out. But this is an op-ed piece, blasting Snowden as a traitor. I haven't made up my mind yet, basically because I was around when Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers and my viewpoint on that matter has evolved 180 degrees, as has my whole political outlook. I need to learn more about what happened and why and to have some time to digest it all. I was hoping this book ...more
Nov 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Took a bit to get past the author's gloating and self-promotion (though not nearly as bad as Greg Mortenson). The topic at hand is probably too large for this format and so it felt very high level. In general, I appreciated this perspective on the issue. I'm a fairly trusting person and have a decent tolerance for government secrecy. There should be oversight and some transparency about how that happens, but rogue action like Snowden's, without really knowing a lot about it, has always seemed pr ...more
Apr 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
The author acknowledges that his main premise, that the Snowden leaks were a Russian plot, lacks any direct supporting evidence. He claims, justifiably, that it is supported by Occam's razor, laying out a convincing argument that there is more to the public story than meets the eye and that the plot "has Russian fingerprints, however faint and smudged". Whether a reader accepts this premise is likely based on his or her prior sentiments.
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
It is a well written, well researched hit piece on Snowden when the author isn't making "The KGB is at the gates"-style conjectures worthy of John Birch Society's "International Communist Conspiracy". In fairness the author always mentions that these conjectures don't have the weight of evidence and may not be true, but then why make them if not to paint Snowden as a spy?
Charles Goodwin
Informative and entertaining

Mr Lucas is an excellent author and made a compelling case for not hailing Mr Snowden as a hero. Prior to reading the book I was of the opinion that Mr Snowden was in the right. I no longer believe so. Wether you agree with Mr Snowden or not this book deserves a read.
Feb 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Although I took my time reading this short account, I really enjoyed it. Lucas's thoughts are very eye opening and point Snowden out as the traitor I believe he is. Lucas doesn't skip over our government's agencies and the boundaries of privacy that Snowden has kindly informed citizens has been broken.
Miriam Brown
May 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Interesting Concept

I found this author's thinking behind what may have caused Snowden to choose the path he did regarding exposing NSA's "spying" on its citizens, allies and foes. It's mind boggling and begs the question why he chose to put our country/security at such a high risk. A very interesting book, in my opinion.
Tori Miller
Oct 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
I didn't really agree with some of what the author said, and I didn't feel like his arguments for his point of view were very convincing. I think it would have been helpful if it had given some background information first. It wouldn't be a good introduction on the subject. I thought this would be an interesting subject and I normally love Kindle Singles, but this one was boring.
Nov 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Lucas makes acompelling point that Snowden was an uneducated and misinformed fool. However, his case that he was duped by the Russian intelligence services is somewhat strained and more conjectural. This short book is well organized and liberally supported with a lot of documentation. I would recommend it as a good primer on the Snowden controversy.
Jan 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
For those following the Snowden NSA story with open minds and intellectual curiosity, this is a must read - even if its most sensational claim of Russian sponsorship doesn't really hold up (thin real evidence).
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Read in a couple of hours, this is a marvellous and thought provoking counter weight to the largely unquestioning support of Snowden as whistleblower.

A must read for those genuinely interested and not simply looking to bolster a pre-determined position.
May 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Gives me another perspective about Snowden, but it doesn't change my mind that Snowden is whistleblower and should be commended for that. Anyway, there's some interesting analysis about espionage in this book
Dec 07, 2014 rated it liked it
More of a verry long essay than a true book. It gave me some things to think about in terms of the operation of world intelligence services, and the admittedly odd behavior of Snowden during this kerfluffle that I hadn't thought about before.
Michael Stern
Feb 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Thought-providing Kindle single from a veteran intelligence community reporter of The Economist. Definitely offers some uncomfortable food for thought!
Mar 31, 2014 rated it did not like it
“[This] is an extraordinary claim, which requires extraordinary evidence. So far, nothing of the kind has been forthcoming", notes Lucas at one point. He seems to not even notice the irony.
Carol Hammal
Jul 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, politics
Interesting perspective and analysis. But was hoping for a more grounded book instead of explaining conspiracy theories.
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Edward Lucas is a British journalist. Lucas works for The Economist, the London-based global news weekly. He was the Moscow bureau chief from 1998 to 2002, and thereafter the central and east European correspondent. He has also been a correspondent for The Independent and the BBC. Lucas also writes occasionally for The Daily Mail.

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